Voluntary curtailments will minimize the need for mandatory rolling blackouts.
Local weather forecasts show temperatures rising to 100 degrees next week, increasing the likelihood of blackouts, lasting about four hours, in Arlington, Lakeland and surrounding areas served by Substation 68, which is under repair. Customers in these areas must voluntarily curtail their power usage during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.in order to reduce the need for mandatory blackouts.
“It’s an unprecedented situation,” said MLGW President and CEO Jerry R. Collins, Jr. about blackouts, which have not occurred in recent MLGW history. “The magnitude of the damage suffered by Substation 68 (on July 11) is unlike anything the utility has seen in the last 30 years. Voluntary curtailment is necessary to help manage power loads in these areas, especially on the hot days ahead.”
The concern is that typically high summer loads could further damage the electric distribution system, which is why voluntary curtailment is also viewed as a protection measure. MLGW will try to notify customers in advance of a blackout during peak hours by phone, although advanced notice may not always be possible. Customers in Arlington, Lakeland and areas served by Substation 68 are advised to be prepared.
To curtail usage, residential customers, for instance, can simply unplug as many devices as possible when away from home. Unplugging also protects appliances from low voltage issues that have occurred in Arlington and Lakeland since July 11. Affected customers can delay drying clothes until after 8:30 p.m.; increase the temperature settings on thermostats to 80 degrees or higher; and run swimming pool pumps overnight instead of during the day among other energy-reduction measures. Commercial and industrial customers are also curtailing usage.
Substation 68, located at 10600 Highway 70, serves more than 6,800 customers and is under repair for the next six months due to an equipment failure on July 11. Voltage issues are expected to be resolved before substation repairs are completed.
Customers experiencing low voltage issues related to Substation 68 should contact:
Customer Care Center for Residential Customers at 544-6549
Business Solutions Center for Commercial and Industrial Customers at 528-4270